Focus on the positive to improve classroom behavior

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When teachers encounter disruptive or noncompliant students in the classroom, they typically respond by focusing on the negative behavior. However, new research from the University of Missouri found that offering students more positive encouragement not only reduces disruptive classroom behavior, but can improve students’ academic and social outcomes.

“As educators, we often focus on communicating what we don’t want our students to be doing in class, but we have found that just doesn’t work,” said Keith Herman, a professor in the University of Missouri College of Education. “Instead, we need to be setting clear expectations of what behaviors we do want to be seeing.”

To help teachers provide a nurturing and structured environment for students in the classroom, Herman implemented CHAMPS, a classroom behavior management training intervention, into a St. Louis County school district’s middle school classroom over the course of five years. The intervention resulted in decreased disruptive classroom behavior and student concentration problems. The intervention also improved both completed class work and standardized test scores, as well as increased the amount of time students remained on task with classroom assignments.

“The intervention is based off principles and practices research has shown to be helpful in creating successful classroom management, such as communicating clear expectations to students, giving more positive encouragement compared to negative reprimands and moving around the classroom to monitor student behavior,” Herman said…

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